OPIN­ION

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

There are sev­eral very good rea­sons why Don­ald Trump has cho­sen to spend most of his visit to the UK next week in Scot­land.

He has never been slow to play up his links to the old coun­try.

Like most US politi­cians, he be­lieves his colour­ful eth­nic­ity plays well with the elec­torate. This is his ver­sion of go­ing back to Ire­land for a pint of the black stuff.

The trip, his first to the UK as pres­i­dent, will also al­low him to brazenly pro­mote his own busi­nesses here with his usual gift for brass-necked ex­ag­ger­a­tions.

More per­ti­nently, for Trump any­way, he reck­ons the re­cep­tion will not be as hot as it might have been in Lon­don.

Was he put off by the gi­ant in­flat­able baby? Who knows.

On the off chance that he was, it should be flown 500 miles north im­me­di­ately.

De­spite plenty of ev­i­dence to the con­trary, Trump sees him­self as some sort of re­turn­ing hero to th­ese shores.

Like the house guest from hell, the pres­i­dent’s ap­pear­ance was con­firmed only at the last minute, his list of de­mands long and plen­ti­ful.

He has al­ready caused dis­rup­tion for po­lice, who have had shift pat­terns re­or­gan­ised, and there will be chaos in his wake wher­ever he goes.

And he doesn’t come cheap ei­ther, with the se­cu­rity bill alone es­ti­mated at £5mil­lion.

The row over who foots the bill – West­min­ster or Holy­rood – was a smoke­screen im­por­tant only to politi­cians.

The fact of the mat­ter is that one way or an­other we’re all pay­ing, which is one of sev­eral in­di­vid­ual hor­rors at­tached to this pres­i­den­tial visit.

There will be cyn­ics who don’t see the point of the protests planned in Aberdeen, Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow – who will be­lieve that Trump is best ig­nored.

They’ll point out that there have been more atro­cious world lead­ers to have vis­ited without much com­ment, miss­ing the point that Trump uses Scot­land to his ben­e­fit and is the leader of the UK’s most im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal ally.

De­spite those voices, a mass public protest with voices from across our com­mu­ni­ties should be en­cour­aged.

The eyes of the world will be on Scot­land for the du­ra­tion of his visit and peo­ple of ev­ery na­tion should learn that we are em­bar­rassed by the as­so­ci­a­tion, not proud of it. This isn’t some nar­row act of pos­tur­ing ei­ther. It is an out­pour­ing of dis­gust at the place­ment of mi­grant chil­dren in cages un­der his regime.

Of anger at far-right British or­gan­i­sa­tions be­ing given suc­cour by the pres­i­dent of the US, who unapolo­get­i­cally pro­moted their base­less racist bile on so­cial me­dia.

Of fury at his ban on free move­ment and travel to the US for in­no­cent Mus­lims from pro­scribed coun­tries. Those are just for starters. His pan­der­ing to the gun lobby is an­other rea­son for a coun­try still scarred by the Dun­blane tragedy to voice its op­po­si­tion.

Con­ducted in the right spirit, the protests are some­thing of which Scot­land can proud.

Not just for those usu­ally moved to march but by hol­i­day­ing schoolkids, peo­ple of all ages from across the coun­try.

The things which Trump stands for are easy to op­pose. This could be a mo­ment in which one of the cen­tury’s most ap­palling but pow­er­ful fig­ures is told in no un­cer­tain terms that when he plays up his Scot­tish back­ground, he shames us all.

The in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum showed that, at our best, we can be pretty good at this sort of thing, show­cas­ing our wit and sense of com­mu­nity.

As for those who say protests change noth­ing, they demon­strate only an ig­no­rance of British po­lit­i­cal his­tory.

From Peter­loo to Jar­row through the poll tax ri­ots to the Not in My Name march against Tony Blair, public protests have not just changed pol­i­tics, they have shaped the na­tion.

Protests and vig­ils helped es­tab­lish de­vo­lu­tion for this coun­try and focused op­po­si­tion to nu­clear weapons.

For any­one who has re­coiled at the de­spi­ca­ble con­duct of the White House’s 45th oc­cu­pant, this is an op­por­tu­nity to be heard.

Post­ing anti-Trump mes­sages on so­cial me­dia is one thing, stand­ing up to be counted helps de­liver a mes­sage that he will un­der­stand.

DIS­RUP­TION In­flat­able baby Trump should be flown north Pic PA LEAD­ING THE WAY Time’s Up rally, top, and Jar­row march

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